Third Millenium

"Have you taken your meds?" Archy asked me.

"I think I would like you better if you were more like your namesake," I told the insect. "Maybe Mehitabel was a civilizing influence."

But all the cats are dead. Everything is dead: except plants, insects -- including 5,879 species of cockroach -- and seven varieties of human.

"Why do you care?" I asked Archy. "Why do you keep any of us alive?"

The caterpillars eating the old tablecloth and spinning out a new one lifted their blind heads and keened. The walls rippled as the house spiders switched to softer, calming shades of silk. My chair pulsed soothingly.

"We have adapted to you too well." Cockroaches always speak dryly. "Now we can't live without you."

It is rather a relief to me. Another species has taken on the human burden of ecological guilt.

Footnote: If you have never read Don Marquis, you can get an introduction to the story of Archy and Mehitabel at

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Monday, 23-Dec-2002 21:55:38 EST